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Historic Clock In Bedford Suffers Severe Damage During Winding

The Bedford Historical Society is raising funds to repair the Sutton Clock which was recently damaged.
The Bedford Historical Society is raising funds to repair the Sutton Clock which was recently damaged. Photo Credit: Bedford Historical Society.

One of the beacons of Bedford that has graced the town since 1885 was severely damaged while workers were working on the Sutton Clock which sits at the corner of Guard Hill and Succabone Roads.

The damage happened two weeks ago, while one of the 13 Clock Winders -- a group of residents who maintain the clock -- was performing the weekly winding when something went very wrong.

The click didn’t properly catch the tooth in the ratchet wheel, and in seconds seven teeth on the cast iron ratchet wheel were sheared off and fell to the floor, said the Bedford Historical Society.

The damage caused the handle to spin out of control, the steel cable snapped sending the weight box filled with rocks plunging three stories to the floor

The Clock Winder avoided injury, but the beloved clock was not as lucky and now requires extensive repairs.

Until a site visit is made, the Historical Society won’t know exactly what the unexpected costs will be. 

"We are obtaining quotes for the repairs which are estimated to be approximately $10,000," the Society said.

To help cover the repair costs, the Society is asking residents to make a "timely" donation.

The clock was donated in the 1880s when the Sutton family moved to their country home in Bedford, Mrs. Sutton was homesick for New York City, particularly the sound of the city's church bells, the Society said.

 To please his wife, Mr. Sutton installed in his barn’s cupola a huge clock, an E. Howard time and strike model with a 550-pound bell. 

The barn burned down but the clock and bell were rescued and in 1939 a group of neighbors raised $3,000 to build a tower to house the clock. They then donated the tower to the Town of Bedford.

Since 1985, the Historical Society has leased the tower and maintains the clock. A small group of neighbors, known as the Clock Winders, takes turns winding the clock, which is accurate to this day.

You can learn about the history of the Sutton Clock and Tower in Bedford Stories or by visiting the Society website.

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